The project will identify practical and concrete examples of good practices where states and other actors have successfully implemented human rights obligations related to environmental protection and management, which could be replicated in other contexts, and  which will increase the understanding and awareness of the linkages between human rights and the environment, including providing more clarity on the human rights obligations related to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, sustainable and healthy environment. 

To achieve the above objective, the project will review good practices at the international, regional, national and sub-national levels in collaboration with a wide range of actors through various strategies, including regional consultations, questionnaires, and an interactive web-portal. It will focus on good practices by a wide range of actors, including governments, civil society organisations, and international organisations. The good practices will also be disseminated in accessible publications, such as fact sheets, training guides and information pamphlets, which also for part of capacity building programmes. 

The good practices gathered during the first phase of the project will provide UNEP with the knowledge and opportunity to undertake a second phase and respond to country specific requests for policy guidance on human rights and the environment. The project will integrate, as a result of its work with relevant stakeholders at the national level, a second phase where pilot projects and country specific policy recommendations will be developed at the national level for selected interested countries. 

UNEP, the OHCHR and the Independent Expert have recently engaged in a joint project on good practices on human rights and the environment. Through a consultative process, the partners will engage with stakeholders, build political momentum and ownership within both the human rights and the environment communities, towards, ultimately, strengthening the nexus between human rights and environment. In this context, two consultations were held, in Nairobi (February 2013) and Panama (July 2013). 

The purpose of this compendium is to present good practices relating to the use of human rights obligations and commitments to inform, support and strengthen environmental policymaking, especially in the area of environmental protection that were identified through a joint programme between UNEP, the Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment (formerly the Independent Expert), and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

ThumbnailClimate change is one of the greatest threats to human rights of our generation, posing a serious risk to the fundamental rights to life, health, food and an adequate standard of living of individuals and communities across the world. This report aims to support government and private decision makers by assessing the relationship between climate change and human rights law. [PDF Link] 



The Compendium on human rights and the environment takes stock of the normative and jurisprudential developments in the field of human rights and the environment.  It describes international instruments that relate to human rights and the environment, such as multilateral environmental agreements, international human rights treaties, and international resolutions and declarations.  It also includes summaries of decisions rendered by the human rights supervisory mechanisms in Africa, Europe and the Americas, as well as the Human Rights Committee, the International Court of Justice and the World Bank's Inspection Panel.  

The objective of the publication is to identify and promote good practices relating to the use of human rights obligations and commitments to inform, support and strengthen environmental policy making, especially in the areas of environmental protection and management.


Past events    

Sustainable Development, Climate Change and the Right to Health - A side event to the 2nd United Nations Environment Assembly

23 May 2016, 1.00 p.m. – 2.30 p.m.


10 March 2015, Palais des Nations, Geneva

  • Side-event during the 25th Session of the Human Rights Council 

13 March 2014, Nairobi, Kenya


23 - 24 January 2014, Johannesburg, South Africa

12 December 2013, UN Headquarters, New York


21 - 23 November 2013 Venice, Italy 

26 - 27 July 2013, Panama


22-23 February 2013, Nairobi, Kenya

  • Strengthening the Human Rights and Environment Nexus for Sustainable Development

21/2/2013 - UNEP GC/GMEF Side event